NB - former Paramount Theatre site Saint John

The former Paramount Theatre site in Saint John's King's Square (CBC)

A Saint John city councillor wants to turn brownfields into green space.

Former mayor Shirley McAlary has proposed a bylaw that would require property owners to plant grass on their vacant lots after 90 days if there are no plans to rebuild.

"When people visit your city and they drive through it, if things are tidy and they look clean and attractive, they think you're pretty good and prosperous," she said.

"And people normally don't move to areas that don't look attractive. They just don't."

McAlary said the bylaw would make the city's Uptown are more presentable and prevent illegal parking lots.

"I don't mean spending a ton of money, but just level it, clean it up, hydro-seed it for grass or put lawn in. And just make it look a lot nicer," she said.

"It'd be a lot better to look at than what I'm looking at today."

Uptown city councillor Gerry Lowe is familiar with the city's illegal parking lots.

He said the bylaw is a great idea, but enforcement has been an issue.

"I think if we get on to the enforcement kick, I think we'll solve a lot of our problems," he said.

The bylaw has been referred to the city manager for review.

McAlary said she hopes it will be in effect by next year.